People Innovation Excellence

Five Characteristics of Effective Teams

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Effective teams need five characteristics to realize success, which, in some cases, means saving lives.

  1. Good teams are well-trained. I was experiencing some heaviness in my chest from time to time. She checked with the doctor and told me to go to urgent care immediately. I was diagnosed with possible atrial fibrillation. I ended up undergoing an ablation procedure, which alleviated the problem for a while. The actions that the nurse carried out over the telephone stopped a potentially dangerous situation from becoming a critical issue.
  1. Good teams respond to changes well without being told to do so. In some cases, i was almost passing out while driving my car to work. When I called for appointment, I was told to go to urgent care. An EKG showed that my heart was stopping for as much as six seconds at a time. I had a pacemaker implanted in my chest. Since a team members was alert to the changes in my symptoms, a very serious problem was averted.


  1. Good teams work well under duress. My cardiologist prescribed an angiography to find the source of the trouble. I had four blockages and underwent quadruple bypass and a Maze procedure that day. The procedure took more than six hours, during which my kidneys began to fail. Following the surgery, I was held in cardiac intensive care for nine days because of the kidney problems, spending most of those days in an induced coma. This incident put considerable duress on the surgical and caridology team, and they responded well. I am living proof.
  1. Good teams follow up and ensure that there is a reasonable solution to the situation. Apparently, the Maze procedure had not worked. I was taking beta blockers and digoxin for the heart. The cardiologist believed that i would need a cardioversion procedure to shock my heart back into a normal sinus rhythm. The day of the procedure, I was on the gurney and connected to a cardiac monitor. The cardiologist was surprised that I was in a normal sinus rhythm. The medications had been masking the real heart patterns. The Maze procedure had worked after all. I did not need the cardioversion. The outcome was reasonable.
  1. Effective teamwork results in positive outcomes. I am living example of a positive outcome. The teams that I have been writing about come from an organization that won a Malcolm Baldrige Award. Without their skills, I might not be here to testify as to what makes up a good team.

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